SITA’s latest Passenger IT Trends survey found that Chinese airline passengers are among the most hungry in the world for inflight broadband connections and all of China’s airlines will invest in in-flight services over the next three years.
But actual connections are just starting to happen.
In mid-August, inflight connectivity and entertainment provider Gogo received regulatory approvals, through its local partner China Telecom Satellite, from Chinese regulators to offer in-flight connectivity on international flights to and from China starting in October.
“We have been working on regulatory approvals for some time with China Telecom as our partner,” explains spokesperson Steve Nolan. Gogo now provides connectivity on Delta Air Lines’ international fleet that flies into China, which will be able to take advantage of the new Chinese connections.
The company also has a partnership with Beijing’s Shareco Technologies to provide connections to 50 Hainan and Capital Beijing aircraft that are expected to fly in 2017.
All these China connections will be 2Ku, using Ku-band satellites but with Gogo’s new antenna that provides inflight services like ground connections, including the ability to stream movies, according to Nolan.
In addition to in-flight connectivity, Gogo will also provide its wireless in-flight entertainment solution, Gogo Vision, for Shareco to install on Hainan and Capital Beijing aircraft.
Gogo has already installed in-flight connectivity on more than 2,800 commercial aircraft. It takes about three days to install connection hardware on each aircraft. Nolan says installation may be done by the airline or by a third party, depending on airline capabilities and choice.
Gogo does not build or operate its own satellites, but works with many satellite providers, most prominently SES and Intelsat. It also works with many hardware providers. For example, its latest improved-capacity 2Ku antennas are made by Thinkom.